Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Stephen Harper, The Duffy Trial, and the Lost Summer
It's sometimes hard to remember, and even harder to believe, that Stephen Harper came to power promising to clean up government.
And a new era of accountability.
But we all know how that turned out. That was then.
This is now...
And now that we know that there is even more evidence that the PMO was involved in trying to whitewash a Senate audit of Mike Duffy.
As Lawrence Martin points out, if integrity becomes a ballot issue, him and his Cons are finished.
There was evidence beforehand that the PMO had interfered with a Deloitte audit on the expenses of Mike Duffy and other senators. But new court documents obtained by The Globe and Mail make the case stronger.
In one, Corporal Benoit Jolette says the force’s investigation learned that the audit report “had made its way to the PMO, to their office and, I guess, revisions, what they wanted to have written in the report, was done.
Yet again we have the integrity of this government being called into question. For the Conservatives, there is now a real risk of it becoming the ballot question. If it does, they can kiss their chances of re-election goodbye.
And the even better news is that Duffy's lawyer Donald Bayne seems determined to make the trial a ballot issue by making it last as long as possible.
Bayne has spent days and days cross-examining Senate administration witnesses and others. He flogs the dead horse and then finds another one. He repeats time again it is because "a man's liberty is at stake," and that is, of course, true.
But Bayne may have other motivations. The longer this goes, the closer it gets to the federal election campaign.
Which is really bad news for Harper, since he was hoping that the trial would wrap up by the end of June, and that he could put any damage behind him before the election in October.
But now there's no chance of that, and to make matters worse, the best is still to come...
The real drama of the trial in the Ontario Court of Justice has yet to come.
The Senate report that suddenly becomes less damning of Duffy hours before being tabled, the supposed negotiations with the Prime Minister's Office to make it all just go away, and the infamous $90,000 cheque from Wright to Duffy have barely been mentioned in this courtroom.
These are the questions that are still very much alive inside that courtroom. The "big" witnesses in this case have yet to come, to say nothing of Duffy's own defence and his promised testimony.
And as Nik Nanos points out, with the numbers tightening
It’s beginning to look like a three-horse race. The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP are closer than they ever have been over the past two years, as the Tories continue to inch up on the Nanos Party Power Index.
The timing couldn't be worse.
On the political front, summer is generally when things gear down. But with a scheduled October election looming, the warmest months of the year will be the most critical for party leaders as they try to sway voters over to their respective sides.
Because instead of being able to use the summer to try to make Canadians forget about the trial, he will almost certainly be dogged by it all the way to the next election.
So it will be a ballot issue.
And it will help destroy him...
Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.